Discussion Forum Discussion Forum

Practices Inspired by Actualism

RE: The Great Perfection

Toggle
The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/6/12 4:30 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Tommy M 4/30/12 6:25 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 5/1/12 7:11 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Fred none 5/1/12 9:34 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Jeff Grove 4/30/12 9:17 PM
RE: The Great Perfection . Jake . 5/2/12 6:11 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Andrew . 5/2/12 8:46 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/3/12 2:26 AM
RE: The Great Perfection An Eternal Now 5/3/12 3:17 AM
RE: The Great Perfection An Eternal Now 5/3/12 3:29 AM
RE: The Great Perfection . Jake . 5/3/12 6:45 AM
RE: The Great Perfection . Jake . 5/3/12 3:52 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Adam . . 5/4/12 9:06 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/5/12 8:23 AM
RE: The Great Perfection . Jake . 5/5/12 7:30 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/5/12 9:01 AM
RE: The Great Perfection . Jake . 5/5/12 10:49 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/5/12 7:29 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/6/12 12:01 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/6/12 12:12 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/6/12 2:51 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Jeff Grove 5/7/12 4:57 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 5/7/12 2:23 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Sudarsha Isvara Namaskar 10/31/12 2:26 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 10/31/12 5:03 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Sudarsha Isvara Namaskar 10/31/12 5:34 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Adam . . 10/31/12 5:33 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Sudarsha Isvara Namaskar 11/2/12 1:08 PM
RE: The Great Perfection . Jake . 5/6/12 8:23 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Tommy M 5/7/12 5:04 PM
RE: The Great Perfection . Jake . 5/7/12 6:02 PM
RE: The Great Perfection . Jake . 5/7/12 6:10 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Jeff Grove 5/8/12 6:19 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/8/12 6:51 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Tommy M 5/8/12 3:43 PM
RE: The Great Perfection This Good Self 5/9/12 12:59 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/9/12 3:07 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Jeff Grove 5/9/12 5:35 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Jeff Grove 5/9/12 4:46 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/9/12 4:56 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Adam . . 5/11/12 7:47 PM
RE: The Great Perfection This Good Self 5/12/12 12:07 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/12/12 12:31 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/13/12 1:20 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/1/12 5:38 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Andrew . 5/1/12 6:50 AM
RE: The Great Perfection An Eternal Now 5/1/12 7:12 AM
RE: The Great Perfection An Eternal Now 5/1/12 7:30 AM
RE: The Great Perfection katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/1/12 6:33 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Jeff Grove 5/1/12 5:02 PM
RE: The Great Perfection An Eternal Now 5/5/12 12:16 AM
RE: The Great Perfection Change A. 5/6/12 4:21 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Nikolai . 5/6/12 4:26 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Andrew . 5/6/12 10:07 PM
RE: The Great Perfection Richard Zen 5/14/12 10:15 AM
The Great Perfection
Answer
5/6/12 4:30 PM
NOTE: This post is not an AF bashing post. It is simply pointing to the practical and beneficial practice of attending to and becoming aware of the fleeting moments of sense contact/apperception before the mind is obscured by an outflow of self-narratives. This is a thread to discuss the practical aspects that AF has to offer and how those aspects relate to the instructions for the Great Perfection.

Taken from The Cycle Of Day And Night
By Namkhai Norbu

(9)The awareness arising at the first sudden instant (of sense contact) is indeed that pure presence which arises without correction (or modification) and which is uncreated (by causes). This very condition of existence which transcends the limitations of both subject and object is the authentic self-originated primal awareness of pure presence.

(10) With respect to this pure presence, the three aspects of the state of Samantabhadra are truly complete: being devoid of any karmic traces, its Essence which is the dharmakaya is emptiness; being devoid of thoughts and concepts, its Nature which is the sambhogakaya is clarity; being devoid of any desires or attachments, (its Energy) which is the nirma~;~akaya, is unobstructed (and uninterrupted).


What does this 'awareness' sound exactly like?

(11) Such an awareness, in just its coming into being, is entirely devoid of dualistic thoughts which think in terms of subject and object, and so (external appearances) arise as manifestations of clarity without any grasping (at conceptions or judgments). Appearances present themselves in the state of the real condition of existence.

(12) Because this unconditioned, natural, instantaneous awareness encounters the real condition of existence as its Mother, (we speak of it as) the dharmakaya. Remaining in this condition of spontaneously self- perfected pure presence is the natural state of the Great Perfection.


Considering the type of 'awareness' in paragraph (9), what does 'the natural state of the Great Perfection' sound like?


EDIT: So as to avoid any issue of copyright for the DhO I'm posting a link to the HP blog where the original post can be found in full:

I take full responsibiltiy for cutting and pasting on my own blog.

NIck (07/05/12)

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
4/30/12 6:25 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
I want to have your babies. emoticon

Another fine piece of dhamma there, and another move towards mutual understanding and ending suffering! Huzzah!

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/1/12 7:11 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Yes, yes and yes.

Here's more:

Taken from a link in AEN's recent post in the PCE & LSD thread:

U. G. Krishnamurti:
The Mystique of Enlightenment

Part Two

(Compiled by James Brodsky from conversations in India and Switzerland 1973)

I am not out to liberate anybody. You have to liberate yourself, and you are unable to do that. What I have to say will not do it. I am only interested in describing this state, in clearing away the occultation and mystification in which those people in the 'holy business' have shrouded the whole thing. Maybe I can convince you not to waste a lot of time and energy, looking for a state which does not exist except in your imagination.
____________

Get this straight, this is your state I am describing, your natural state, not my state or the state of a God-realized man or a mutant or any such thing. This is your natural state, but what prevents what is there from expressing itself in its own way is your reaching out for something, trying to be something other than what you are.
____________

You can never understand this; you can only experience this in terms of your past experience. This is outside the realm of experience. The natural state is acausal: it just happens. No communication is possible, and none necessary. The only thing that is real to you is the way you are functioning; it is an act of futility to relate my description to the way you are functioning. When you stop all this comparison, what is there is your natural state. Then you will not listen to anybody.
____________

There is no teaching of mine, and never shall be one. "Teaching" is not the word for it. A teaching implies a method or a system, a technique or a new way of thinking to be applied in order to bring about a transformation in your way of life. What I am saying is outside the field of teachability; it is simply a description of the way I am functioning. It is just a description of the natural state of man -- this is the way you, stripped of the machinations of thought, are also functioning.

The natural state is not the state of a self-realized God-realized man, it is not a thing to be achieved or attained, it is not a thing to be willed into existence; it is there -- it is the living state. This state is just the functional activity of life. By 'life' I do not mean something abstract; it is the life of the senses, functioning naturally without the interference of thought. Thought is an interloper, which thrusts itself into the affairs of the senses. It has a profit motive: thought directs the activity of the senses to get something out of them, and uses them to give continuity to itself.

Your natural state has no relationship whatsoever with the religious states of bliss, beatitude and ecstasy; they lie within the field of experience. Those who have led man on his search for religiousness throughout the centuries have perhaps experienced those religious states. So can you. They are thought-induced states of being, and as they come, so do they go. Krishna Consciousness, Buddha Consciousness, Christ Consciousness, or what have you, are all trips in the wrong direction: they are all within the field of time. The timeless can never be experienced, can never be grasped, contained, much less given expression to, by any man. That beaten track will lead you nowhere. There is no oasis situated yonder; you are stuck with the mirage.
______________

This state is a physical condition of your being. It is not some kind of psychological mutation. It is not a state of mind into which you can fall one day, and out of it the next day. You can't imagine the extent to which, as you are now, thought pervades and interferes with the functioning of every cell in your body. Coming into your natural state will blast every cell, every gland, every nerve. It is a chemical change. An alchemy of some sort takes place. But this state has nothing to do with the experiences of chemical drugs such as LSD. Those are experiences; this is not.
______________

Does such a thing as enlightenment exist? To me what does exist is a purely physical process; there is nothing mystical or spiritual about it. If I close the eyes, some light penetrates through the eyelids. If I cover the eyelids, there is still light inside. There seems to be some kind of a hole in the forehead, which doesn't show, but through which something penetrates. In India that light is golden; in Europe it is blue. There is also some kind of light penetration through the back of the neck. It's as if there is a hole running through between those spots in front and back of the skull. There is nothing inside but this light. If you cover those points, there is complete, total darkness. This light doesn't do anything or help the body to function in any way; it's just there.
______________

This state is a state of not knowing; you really don't know what you are looking at. I may look at the clock on the wall for half an hour -- still I do not read the time. I don't know it is a clock. All there is inside is wonderment: "What is this that I am looking at?" Not that the question actually phrases itself like that in words: the whole of my being is like a single, big question mark. It is a state of wonder, of wondering, because I just do not know what I am looking at. The knowledge about it -- all that I have learned -- is held in the background unless there is a demand. It is in the 'declutched state'. If you ask the time, I will say "It's a quarter past three" or whatever -- it comes quickly like an arrow -- then I am back in the state of not knowing, of wonder.
______________

You can never understand the tremendous peace that is always there within you, that is your natural state. Your trying to create a peaceful state of mind is in fact creating disturbance within you. You can only talk of peace, create a state of mind and say to yourself that you are very peaceful -- but that is not peace; that is violence. So there is no use in practicing peace, there is no reason to practice silence. Real silence is explosive; it is not the dead state of mind that spiritual seekers think. "Oh, I am at peace with myself! There is silence, a tremendous silence! I experience silence!" -- that doesn't mean anything at all. This is volcanic in its nature: it's bubbling all the time -- the energy, the life -- that is its quality. You may ask how I know. I don't know. Life is aware of itself, if we can put it that way -- it is conscious of itself.
_______

When I talk of 'feeling', I do not mean the same thing that you do. Actually, feeling is a physical response, a thud in the thymus. The thymus, one of the endocrine glands, is located under the breast bone. The doctors tell us that it is active through childhood until puberty and then becomes dormant. When you come into your natural state, this gland is re-activated. Sensations are felt there; you don't translate them as 'good' or 'bad'; they are just a thud. If there is a movement outside of you -- a clock pendulum swinging, or a bird flying across your field of vision -- that movement is also felt in the thymus. The whole of your being is that movement or vibrates with that sound; there is no separation. This does not mean that you identify yourself with that bird or whatever -- "I am that flying bird." There is no 'you' there, nor is there any object. What causes that sensation, you don't know. You do not even know that it is a sensation.

'Affection' (this is not my interpretation of the word) means that you are affected by everything, not that some emotion flows from you towards something. The natural state is a state of great sensitivity -- but this is a physical sensitivity of the senses, not some kind of emotional compassion or tenderness for others. There is compassion only in the sense that there are no 'others' for me, and so there is no separation.
______________

Is there in you an entity which you call the 'I' or the 'mind' or the 'self'? Is there a co- ordinator who is co-ordinating what you are looking at with what you are listening to, what you are smelling with what you are tasting, and so on? Or is there anything which links together the various sensations originating from a single sense -- the flow of impulses from the eyes, for example? Actually, there is always a gap between any two sensations. The co-ordinator bridges that gap: he establishes himself as an illusion of continuity.

In the natural state there is no entity who is co-ordinating the messages from the different senses. Each sense is functioning independently in its own way. When there is a demand from outside which makes it necessary to co-ordinate one or two or all of the senses and come up with a response, still there is no co-ordinator, but there is a temporary state of co- ordination. There is no continuity; when the demand has been met, again there is only the unco-ordinated, disconnected, disjointed functioning of the senses. This is always the case. Once the continuity is blown apart -- not that it was ever there; but the illusory continuity -- it's finished once and for all.

Can this make any sense to you? It cannot. All that you know lies within the framework of your experience, which is of thought. This state is not an experience. I am only trying to give you a 'feel' of it, which is, unfortunately, misleading.

When there is no co-ordinator, there is no linking of sensations, there is no translating of sensations; they stay pure and simple sensations. I do not even know that they are sensations. I may look at you as you are talking. The eyes will focus on your mouth because that is what is moving, and the ears will receive the sound vibrations. There is nothing inside which links up the two and says that it is you talking. I may be looking at a spring bubbling out of the earth and hear the water, but there is nothing to say that the noise being heard is the sound of water, or that that sound is in any way connected with what I am seeing. I may be looking at my foot, but nothing says that this is my foot. When I am walking, I see my feet moving -- it is such a funny thing: "What is that which is moving?"

What functions is a primordial consciousness, untouched by thought.
_______________

The eyes are like a very sensitive camera. The physiologists say that light reflected off objects strikes the retina of the eye and the sensation goes through the optic nerve to the brain. The faculty of sight, of seeing, is simply a physical phenomenon. It makes no difference to the eyes whether they are focused on a snow-capped mountain or on a garbage can: they produce sensations in exactly the same way. the eyes look on everyone and everything without discrimination.

You have a feeling that there is a 'cameraman' who is directing the eyes. But left to themselves -- when there is no 'cameraman' -- the eyes do not linger, but are moving all the time. They are drawn by the things outside. Movement attracts them, or brightness or a color which stands out from whatever is around it. There is no 'I' looking; mountains, flowers, trees, cows, all look at me. The consciousness is like a mirror, reflecting whatever is there outside. The depth, the distance, the color, everything is there, but there is nobody who is translating these things. Unless there is a demand for knowledge about what I am looking at, there is no separation, no distance from what is there. It may not actually be possible to count the hairs on the head of someone sitting across the room, but there is a kind of clarity which seems as if I could.

The eyes do not blink, except when there is sudden danger -- this is something very natural because the things outside are demanding attention all the time. Then, when the eyes are tired, a built-in mechanism in the body cuts them out -- they may be open, but they are blurred. But if the eyes stay open all the time, if the reflex action of blinking is not operating, they become dry and you will go blind; so there are some glands beyond the outer corners of the eyes, which are not activated in your case, which act as a watering mechanism. Tears flow all the time from the outer corners. Ignorant people have described them as 'tears of joy' or 'tears of bliss'. There is nothing divine about them. By practicing not blinking, one will not arrive in this state; one will only strain the eyes. And there are neurotics in mental hospitals whose eyes do not blink for one reason or another -- for them it is a pathological condition. But once you are in your natural state, by some luck or some strange chance, all this happens in its own way.

____________

Does beauty lie in the eye of the beholder? Does it lie in the object? Where does it lie? Beauty is thought-induced. I do not stop and write poems about the mountain in front of me. What happens is that I am walking and suddenly see something different because the light has changed. I have nothing to do with it. It is not that something new is seen, or that there is a total attention; there has been a sudden change in the light itself. There is no recognition of that as beauty. Clarity is there, which probably wasn't there before the light changed. Then this consciousness suddenly expands to the size of the object in front of the body, and the lungs take a deep breath. This is the pranayama (breath control); not what you are doing, sitting in a corner and inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the other; this pranayama is going on all the time. So, there is consciousness of a sudden change in the breathing, and then it moves on to something else, the mooing of a cow or the howling of a jackal. It is always moving; it does not linger on something which thought has decided is beautiful. There is no one directing.
_______________

Do you listen to anybody? You do not; you listen only to yourself. When you leave the sense of hearing alone, all that is there is the vibration of the sound -- the words repeat themselves inside of you, as in an echo chamber. This sense is functioning in just the same way with you, except that you think the words you are hearing come from outside of you. Get this straight: You can never hear one word from anyone else, no matter how intimately you think you are in relationship with that person; you hear only your own translations, always. They are all your words you are hearing. All that the other person's words can possibly be to you is a noise, a vibration picked up by the ear-drum and transferred to the nerves which run to the brain. You are translating those vibrations all the time, trying to understand, because you want to get something out of what you are hearing. That is all right for a relationship with someone on the level of "Here is some money; give me a half kilo of carrots" -- but that is the limit of your relationship, of your communication, with anybody.

When there is no translation, all languages sound the same whether or not your particular knowledge structure 'speaks' a particular language. The only differences are in the spacing of the syllables and in the tune. Languages are melodic in different ways.

It is acquired taste that tells you that Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is more beautiful than a chorus of cats screaming; both produce equally valid sensations. Of course some sounds can be damaging to the body, and noise levels above a certain number of decibels are hard on the nervous system and can cause deafness -- that is not what I am talking about. But the appreciation of music, poetry and language is all culturally determined and is the product of thought.
______________

Your movement of thought interferes with the process of touch, just as it does with the other senses. Anything you touch is always translated as 'hard', 'soft', 'warm', 'cold', 'wet', 'dry', and so on.

You do not realize it, but it is your thinking that creates your own body. Without this thought process there is no body consciousness -- which is to say there is no body at all. My body exists for other people; it does not exist for me; there are only isolated points of contact, impulses of touch which are not tied together by thought. So the body is not different from the objects around it; it is a set of sensations like any others. Your body does not belong to you.

Perhaps I can give you the 'feel' of this. I sleep four hours at night, no matter what time I go to bed. Then I lie in bed until morning fully awake. I don't know what is lying there in the bed; I don't know whether I'm lying on my left side or my right side -- for hours and hours I lie like this. If there is any noise outside -- a bird or something -- it just echoes in me. I listen to the "flub-dub-flub-dub" of my heart and don't know what it is. There is no body between the two sheets -- the form of the body is not there. If the question is asked, "What is in there?" there is only an awareness of the points of contact, where the body is in contact with the bed and the sheets, and where it is in contact with itself, at the crossing of the legs, for example. There are only the sensations of touch from these points of contact, and the rest of the body is not there. There is some kind of heaviness, probably the gravitational pull, something very vague. There is nothing inside which links up these things. Even if the eyes are open and looking at the whole body, there are still only the points of contact, and they have no connection with what I am looking at. If I want to try to link up these points of contact into the shape of my own body, probably I will succeed, but by the time it is completed the body is back in the same situation of different points of contact. The linkage cannot stay. It is the same sort of thing when I'm sitting or standing. There is no body.

Can you tell me how mango juice tastes? I can't. You also cannot; but you try to relive the memory of mango juice now -- you create for yourself some kind of an experience of how it tastes -- which I cannot do. I must have mango juice on my tongue -- seeing or smelling it is not enough -- in order to be able to bring that past knowledge into operation and to say "Yes, this is what mango juice tastes like." This does not mean that personal preferences and 'tastes' change. In a market my hand automatically reaches out for the same items that I have liked all my life. But because I cannot conjure up a mental experience, there can be no craving for foods which are not there.

Smell plays a greater part in your daily life than does taste. The olfactory organs are constantly open to odors. But if you do not interfere with the sense of smell, what is there is only an irritation in the nose. It makes no difference whether you are smelling cow dung or an expensive French perfume -- you rub the nose and move on.
________________

My talking comes out in response to the questions which are asked. I cannot sit and give a talk on the natural state -- that is an artificial situation for me. There is nobody who is thinking thoughts and then coming out with answers. When you throw a ball at me, the ball bounces back, and that is what you call an 'answer'. But I don't give any answers; this state is expressing itself. I really don't know what I'm saying, and what I'm saying is of no importance. You may transcribe my own talking, but it will make no sense to me -- it is a dead thing.

What is here, this natural state, is a living thing. It cannot be captured by me, let alone by you. It's like a flower. (This simile is all I can give.) It just blooms. It's there. As long as it is there, it has a fragrance which is different and distinct from that of every other flower. You may not recognize it. You may or may not write odes or sonnets about it. A wandering cow might eat it, or it may be chopped down by a haycutter, or it fades and is finished -- that's the end of it. It's of no importance. You can't preserve its perfume; whatever you preserve of this is only a synthetic, a chemical perfume, not the living thing. Preserving the expressions, teachings or words of such a man has no meaning. This state has only contemporary value, contemporary expression.
_________________

The personality does not change when you come into this state. You are, after all, a computer machine, which reacts as it has been programmed. It is in fact your present effort to change yourself that is taking you away from yourself and keeping you from functioning in the natural way. The personality will remain the same. Don't expect such a man to become free from anger or idiosyncrasies. Don't expect some kind of spiritual humility. Such a man may be the most arrogant person you have ever met, because he is touching life at a unique place where no man has touched before.

It is for this reason that each person who comes into this state expresses it in a unique way, in terms relevant to his time. It is also for this reason that if two or more people are living in this state at the same time, they will never get together. They won't dance in the streets hand in hand: "We are all self-realized men! We belong!"
_________________

The natural needs of a human being are basic: food, clothing and shelter. You must either work for them or be given them by somebody. If these are your only needs, they are not very difficult to fulfill. To deny yourself the basic needs is not a sign of spirituality; but to require more than food, clothing and shelter is a neurotic state of mind.

Is not sex a basic human requirement? Sex is dependent upon thought; the body itself has no sex. Only the genitals and perhaps the hormone balances differ between male and female. It is thought that says "I am a man, and that is a woman, an attractive woman." It is thought that translates sex feelings in the body and says "These are sexual feelings." And it is thought that provides the build-up without which no sex is possible: "It would be more pleasurable to hold that woman's hand than just to look at her. It would be more pleasurable to kiss her than just to embrace her," and so on. In the natural state there is no build-up of thought. Without that build-up, sex is impossible. And sex is tremendously violent to the body. The body normally is a very peaceful organism, and then you subject it to this tremendous tension and release, which feels pleasurable to you. Actually it is painful to the body.

But through suppression or attempts at sublimation of sex you will never come into this state. As long as you think of God, you will have thoughts of sex. Ask any religious seeker you may know who practices celibacy, whether he doesn't dream of women at night. The peak of the sex experience is the one thing in life you have that comes close to being a first-hand experience; all of the rest of your experiences are second-hand, somebody else's. Why do you weave so many taboos and ideas around this? Why do you destroy the joy of sex? Not that I am advocating indulgence or promiscuity; but through abstinence and continence you will never achieve a thing.
________________

There must be a living contact. If you walk out of the room, you disappear from my consciousness. Where you are, or why you are not here -- these questions do not arise. There are no images here -- there is no room for them -- the sensory apparatus is completely occupied with the things I am looking at now. There must be a living contact with those things that are in the room, not thoughts about things that are not here. And so, if you are totally 'tuned in' to the sensory activity, there in no room for fears about who will feed you tomorrow, or for speculation about God, Truth and Reality.

This is not a state of omniscience, wherein all of man's eternal questions are answered; rather it is a state in which the questioning has stopped. It has stopped because those questions have no relation to the way the organism is functioning, and the way the organism is functioning leaves no room for those questions.
________________

The body has an extraordinary mechanism for renewing itself. This is necessary because the senses in the natural state are functioning at the peak of their sensitivity all the time. So, when the senses become tired, the body goes through death. This is real physical death, not some mental state. It can happen one or more times a day. You do not decide to go through this death; it descends upon you. It feels at first as if you have been given an anaesthetic: the senses become increasingly dull, the heartbeat slows, the feet and hands become ice cold, and the whole body becomes stiff like a corpse. Energy flows from all over the body towards some point. It happens differently every time. The whole process takes forty-eight or forty-nine minutes. During this time the stream of thoughts continues, but there is no reading of the thoughts. At the end of this period you 'conk out': the stream of thought is cut. There is no way of knowing how long that cut lasts -- it is not an experience. There is nothing you can say about that time of being 'conked out' -- that can never become part of your conscious existence or conscious thinking.

You don't know what brings you back from death. If you had any will at that moment, you could decide not to come back. When the 'conking out' is over, the stream of thought picks up exactly where it left off. Dullness is over; clarity is back. The body feels very stiff -- slowly it begins to move of its own accord, limbering itself up. The movements are more like the Chinese T'ai Chi than like Hatha Yoga. The disciples observed the things that were happening to the teachers, probably, and embodied them and taught hundreds of postures -- but they are all worthless; it is an extraordinary movement. Those who have observed my body moving say it looks like the motions of a newly born baby. This 'conking out' gives a total renewal of the senses, glands and nervous system: after it they function at the peak of their sensitivity.
________________

You shall not taste of death, for there is no death for you: you cannot experience your own death. Are you born? Life and death cannot be separated; you have no chance whatever of knowing for yourself where one begins and the other ends. You can experience the death of another, but not your own. The only death is physical death; there is no psychological death.

Why are you so afraid of death?

Your experiencing structure cannot conceive of any event that it will not experience. It even expects to preside over its own dissolution, and so it wonders what death will feel like -- it tries to project the feeling of what it will be like not to feel. But in order to anticipate a future experience, your structure needs knowledge, a similar past experience it can call upon for reference. You cannot remember what it felt like not to exist before you were born, and you cannot remember your own birth, so you have no basis for projecting your future non- existence. As long as you have known life, you have known yourself, you have been there, so, to you, you have a feeling of eternity. To justify this feeling of eternity, your structure begins to convince itself that there will be a life after death for you -- heaven, reincarnation, transmigration of souls, or whatever. What is it that you think reincarnates? Where is that soul of yours? Can you taste it, touch it, show it to me? What is there inside of you that goes to heaven? What is there? There is nothing inside of you but fear.
__________________

Why do you dream? You have the feeling that there is somebody, a self, who is running the show of your perceptions, translating what is seen, heard and felt, directing the eyes, saying "This is beautiful; that is ugly. I will look at this; I will not look at that." You cannot control like that -- you think that you can; but the camera is taking pictures all the time, and the tape- recorder is recording all the time, whether you look at one thing for a longer time than you look at something else. Then, when the body is at rest or your thoughts are in a passive state, these things begin to come up -- one bit of this, one bit of that -- it creates some kind of a mosaic and you begin to dream. When that 'somebody' is not there, there is nothing which says "I was asleep, I was dreaming, and now I am awake."
________________

What is morality? It is not the following of enjoined rules of conduct. It is not a question of standing above temptations, or of conquering hate, anger, greed, lust and violence. Questioning your actions before and after creates the moral problem. What is responsible for this situation is the faculty of distinguishing between right and wrong and influencing your actions accordingly.

Life is action. Unquestioned action is morality. Questioning your actions is destroying the expression of life. A person who lets life act in its own way without the protective movement of thought has no self to defend. What need will he have to lie or cheat or pretend or to commit any other act which his society considers immoral?
_________________

What is keeping you from being in your natural state? You are constantly moving away from yourself. You want to be happy, either permanently or at least for this moment. You are dissatisfied with your everyday experiences, and so you want some new ones. You want to perfect yourself, to change yourself. You are reaching out, trying to be something other than what you are. It is this that is taking you away from yourself.
Society has put before you the ideal of a 'perfect man'. No matter in which culture you were born, you have scriptural doctrines and traditions handed down to you to tell you how to behave. You are told that through due practice you can even eventually come into the state attained by the sages, saints and saviors of mankind. And so you try to control your behavior, to control your thoughts, to be something unnatural.

We are all living in a 'thought sphere'. Your thoughts are not your own; they belong to everybody. There are only thoughts, but you create a counter-thought, the thinker, with which you read every thought. Your effort to control life has created a secondary movement of thought within you, which you call the 'I'. This movement of thought within you is parallel to the movement of life, but isolated from it; it can never touch life. You are a living creature, yet you lead your entire life within the realm of this isolated, parallel movement of thought. You cut yourself off from life -- that is something very unnatural.

The natural state is not a 'thoughtless state' -- that is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated for thousands of years on poor, helpless Hindus. You will never be without thought until the body is a corpse, a very dead corpse. Being able to think is necessary to survive. But in this state thought stops choking you; it falls into its natural rhythm. There is no longer a 'you' who reads the thoughts and thinks that they are 'his'.

Have you ever looked at that parallel movement of thought? The books on English grammar will tell you that 'I' is a first person singular pronoun, subjective case; but that is not what you want to know. Can you look at that thing you call 'I'? It is very elusive. Look at it now, feel it, touch it, and tell me. How do you look at it? And what is the thing that is looking at what you call 'I'? This is the crux of the whole problem: the one that is looking at what you call 'I' is the 'I'. It is creating an illusory division of itself into subject and object, and through this division it is continuing. This is the divisive nature that is operating in you, in your consciousness. Continuity of its existence is all that interests it. As long as you want to understand that 'you' or to change that 'you' into something spiritual, into something holy, beautiful or marvelous, that 'you' will continue. If you do not want to do anything about it, it is not there, it's gone.

How do you understand this? I have for all practical purposes made a statement: "What you are looking at is not different from the one who is looking." What do you do with a statement like this? What instrument do you have at your disposal for understanding a meaningless, illogical, irrational statement? You begin to think. Through thinking, you cannot understand a thing. You are translating what I am saying, in terms of the knowledge you already have, just as you translate everything else, because you want to get something out of it. When you stop doing that, what is there is what I am describing. The absence of what you are doing -- trying to understand, or trying to change yourself -- is the state of being that I am describing.
________________

Is there a beyond? Because you are not interested in the everyday things and the happenings around you, you have invented a thing called the 'beyond', or 'timelessness', or 'God', 'Truth', 'Reality', 'Brahman', 'enlightenment', or whatever, and you search for that. There may not be any beyond. You don't know a thing about that beyond; whatever you know is what you have been told, the knowledge you have about that. So you are projecting that knowledge. What you call 'beyond' is created by the knowledge you have about that beyond; and whatever knowledge you have about a beyond is exactly what you will experience. The knowledge creates the experience, and the experience then strengthens the knowledge.

What you know can never be the beyond. Whatever you experience is not the beyond. If there is any beyond, this movement of 'you' is absent. The absence of this movement probably is the beyond, but the beyond can never be experienced by you; it is when the 'you' is not there. Why are you trying to experience a thing that cannot be experienced?
________________

You must always recognize what you are looking at, otherwise you are not there. The moment you translate, the 'you' is there. You look at something and recognize that it is a bag, a red bag. Thought interferes with the sensation by translating. Why does thought interfere? And can you do anything about it? The moment you look at a thing, what comes inside of you is the word 'bag', if not bag', then 'bench' or 'bannister', 'step', "that man sitting there, he has white hair." It goes on and on -- you are repeating to yourself all the time. If you don't do that, you are preoccupied with something else: "I'm getting late for the office." You are either thinking about something which is totally unrelated to the way the senses are functioning at this moment, or else you are looking and saying to yourself "That's a bag, that's a red bag," and so on and so on -- that is all that is there. The word 'bag' separates you from what you are looking at, thereby creating the 'you'; otherwise there is no space between the two.

Every time a thought is born, you are born. When the thought is gone, you are gone. But the 'you' does not let the thought go, and what gives continuity to this 'you' is the thinking. Actually there is no permanent entity in you, no totality of all your thoughts and experiences. You think that there is 'somebody' who is thinking your thoughts, 'somebody' who is feeling your feelings --- that's the illusion. I can say it is an illusion; but it is not an illusion to you.

Your emotions are more complex, but it is the same process. Why do you have to tell yourself that you are angry, that you are envious of someone else, or that sex is bothering you? I am not saying anything about fulfilling or not fulfilling. There is a sensation in you, and you say that you are depressed or unhappy or blissful, jealous, greedy, envious. This labelling brings into existence the one who is translating this sensation. What you call "I" is nothing but this word 'red bag', 'bench', 'steps', 'banister', 'light bulb', 'angry', 'blissful', 'jealous', or whatever. You are putting your brain cells to unnecessary activity making the memory cells operate all the time, destroying the energy that is there. This is only wearing you out.

This labelling is necessary when you must communicate with someone else or with yourself. But you communicate with yourself all the time. Why do you do this? The only difference between you and the person who talks aloud to himself is that you don't talk aloud. The moment you do begin to talk aloud, along comes the psychiatrist. That chap, of course, is doing the same thing that you are doing, communicating to himself all the time -- 'bag', 'red bag', 'obsessive', 'compulsive', 'Oedipus complex,' 'greedy', 'bench', 'banister', 'martini'. Then he says something is wrong with you and puts you on the couch and wants to change you, to help you.

Why can't you leave the sensations alone? Why do you translate? You do this because if you do not communicate to yourself, you are not there. The prospect of that is frightening to the 'you'.
_________________

Whatever you experience -- peace, bliss, silence, beatitude, ecstasy, joy, God knows what -- will be old, second-hand. You already have knowledge about all of these things. The fact that you are in a blissful state or in a state of tremendous silence means that you know about it. You must know a thing in order to experience it. That knowledge is nothing marvelous or metaphysical; 'bench', 'bag', 'red bag', is the knowledge. Knowledge is something which is put into you by somebody else, and he got that from somebody else; it is not yours.

Can you experience a simple thing like that bench that is sitting across from you? No, you only experience the knowledge you have about it. And the knowledge has come from some outside agency, always. You think the thoughts of your society, feel the feelings of your society and experience the experiences of your society; there is no new experience.

So, all that any man has ever thought or felt must go out of your system. And you are the product of all that knowledge -- that's all you are.
___________________

What is thought? You don't know a thing about it; all that you know about what you call 'thought' is what you have been told. How can you do anything with it -- mould it, control it, shape it or stop it? You are all the time trying to do something with it because somebody has told you that you must change this or replace that, hold on to the good thoughts and not the bad thoughts. Thoughts are thoughts; they are neither good nor bad. As long as you want to do something with whatever is there, you are thinking. Wanting and thinking are not two different things. Wanting to understand means there is a movement of thought. You are adding momentum to that movement, giving it continuity.

The senses function unnaturally in you because you want to use them to get something. Why should you get anything? Because you want what you call the 'you' to continue. You are protecting that continuity. Thought is a protective mechanism: it protects the 'you' at the expense of something or somebody else. Anything born out of thought is destructive: it will ultimately destroy you and your kind.
_________________

It is the repetitive mechanism of thought that is wearing you out. So, what is it that you can do about it? -- that's all that you can ask. That's the one and the only question, and any answer that I or anybody gives adds momentum to that movement of thought. What is it that you can do about it? Not one thing. It's too strong: it has the momentum of millions of years. You are totally helpless, and you cannot be conscious of that helplessness.

If you practice any system of mind control, automatically the 'you' is there, and through this it is continuing. Have you ever meditated, really seriously meditated? Or do you know anyone who has? Nobody does. If you seriously meditate, you'll wind up in the loony bin. Nor can you practice mindfulness trying to be aware every moment of your life. You cannot be aware; you and awareness cannot co-exist. If you could be in a state of awareness for one second by the clock, once in your life, the continuity would be snapped, the illusion of the experiencing structure, the 'you', would collapse, and everything would fall into the natural rhythm. In this state you do not know what you are looking at -- that is awareness. If you recognize what you are looking at, you are there, again experiencing the old, what you know.

What makes one person come into his natural state, and not another person, I don't know. Perhaps it's written in the cells. It is acausal. It is not an act of volition on your part; you can't bring it about. There is absolutely nothing you can do. You can distrust any man who tells you how he got into this state. One thing you can be sure of is that he cannot possibly know himself, and cannot possibly communicate it to you. There is a built-in triggering mechanism in the body. If the experiencing structure of thought happens to let go, the other thing will take over in its own way. The functioning of the body will be a totally different functioning, without the interference of thought except when it is necessary to communicate with somebody. To put it in the boxing-ring phrase, you have to "throw in the towel," be totally helpless. No one can help you, and you cannot help yourself.
________________

This state is not in your interest. You are only interested in continuity. You want to continue, probably on a different level, and to function in a different dimension, but you want to continue somehow. You wouldn't touch this with a barge pole. This is going to liquidate what you call "you," all of you -- higher self, lower self, soul, Atman, conscious, subconscious -- all of that. You come to a point, and then you say "I need time." So sadhana (inquiry and religious endeavor) comes into the picture, and you say to yourself "Tomorrow I will understand." This structure is born of time and functions in time, but does not come to an end through time. If you don't understand now, you are not going to understand tomorrow. What is there to understand? Why do you want to understand what I am saying? You can't understand what I am saying. It is an exercise in futility on your part to try to relate the description of how I am functioning to the way you are functioning. This is a thing which I cannot communicate. Nor is any communication necessary. No dialogue is possible. When the 'you' is not there, when the question is not there, what is is understanding. You are finished. You'll walk out. You will never listen to anybody describing his state or ask any questions about understanding at all.

What you are looking for does not exist. You would rather tread an enchanted ground with beatific visions of a radical transformation of that non-existent self of yours into a state of being which is conjured up by some bewitching phrases. That takes you away from your natural state -- it is a movement away from yourself. To be yourself requires extraordinary intelligence. You are 'blessed' with that intelligence; nobody need give it to you, nobody can take it away from you. He who lets that express itself in its own way is a natural man.


After reading U. G. Krishnamurti's phenomenological descriptions I can't anymore see any hold in Richard's (of the AFT) claims of having done something unprecedented.

There's just so much stuff in this little wall of text. Fruitions, wonder, naiveté, tai chi, chakras, 'I'-thought, being, tantra, anti-spiritualism... The list goes on.

Some of this text I season with a pinch or two of salt, but most of it I eat raw.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
4/30/12 9:17 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
you may find the practice of togal/thodgal very interesting

cheers
Jeff

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/1/12 5:38 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
I was inspired to post it because it seems the notion of 'apperception' is a key element of the above mentioned practice. So yes, this practice post (as it is practical) was inspired by Actualism and its use of the notion of 'apperception'. The long post after it, I'm no so sure about.

Nick

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/1/12 6:50 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
The long post by Tommy? haha I thought the post by Stian could have been a cut and past from the AFT in it's general gist.

One could say 'practices that inspired actualism' from reading that excerpt from K.

edit: I got plenty from it, including a smile or two.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/1/12 7:12 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
NOTE: This post is not an AF bashing post. It is simply pointing to the practical and beneficial practice of attending to and becoming aware of the fleeting moments of sense contact/apperception before the mind is obscured by an outflow of self-narratives. This is a thread to discuss the practical aspects that AF has to offer and how those aspects relate to the instructions for the Great Perfection.

Taken from The Cycle Of Day And Night
By Namkhai Norbu
Thanks Nikolai, I'm looking forward to attending ChNNR (Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche)'s retreat when he comes to Singapore a few days later, 4-8 May emoticon

p.s. it's a great book

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/1/12 7:30 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
I posted my understanding of Dzogchen's Rigpa as simply the wisdom that is the correct cognition of the inseparability of non-dual luminosity and emptiness in all appearances/sensations,

Pardon my very limited understanding on this... may others correct me if I am wrong too.

In post-Yogacara teaching, consciousness is understood as dualistic vision, to be distinguished from Wisdom which is non-dualistic. But in Pali suttas, the original teachings of the Buddha, no such division was being taught - so there is no talk about converting consciousness into wisdom - consciousness is simply these six types of cognizance that arises whether you are awakened... except that for the awakened and liberated, there is cognizance/consciousness without taints or ignorance, while for the unawakened there is the instant of cognizance/consciousness quickly followed by the taints, the craving, attachment, and identification with 'I, me, mine'. In other words it is not the 'cognizance/consciousness' that is the problem, it is the taints, the ignorance, the grasping that is the problem.

For post-Yogacara teachings, consciousness is understood to be dualistic vision, so consciousness must be transformed into wisdom. In Dzogchen, I think it is not too different in this respect, as Namdrol once said: Further, there is no rigpa to speak of that exists separate from the earth, water, fire, air, space and consciousness that make up the universe and sentient beings. Rigpa is merely a different way of talking about these six things. In their pure state (their actual state) we talk about the radiance of the five wisdoms of rig pa. In their impure state we talk about how the five elements arise from consciousness. One coin, two sides. And it is completely empty from beginning to end, and top to bottom, free from all extremes and not established in anyway. ( http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/10/dzogchen-rigpa-and-dependent.html )

It is not that there is a wisdom that exists outside the aggregates of experience, but rather it is that the aggregates of experience being experienced wrongly is dualistic vision of consciousness, experienced correctly in their actual state is simply the radiance of Rigpa. But there is not some super-transcendent 'Rigpa' outside phenomena (in their actual state).



'Rigpa' = Vidya, or Wisdom... as opposed to Ma-rigpa (ignorance).

In reply of my post, Loppon Namdrol sent me a translation of his on the practice of Dzogchen:


Longchenpa also discuss the meditation of Dzogchen in the following way:


Just as reflections arise in limpid water, the eyes and clairvoyances will arise from limpid vidyā. Moreover, one should practice by leaving the unobstructed sense faculties in their own limpidity. Since the main organ, the eyes, are limpid, vidyā is limpid, because the eyes are the gate of the personal experience of wisdom. Otherwise, just as the appearances of reflections do not condition the water, [35/b] likewise, even though all outer appearances arise as a brilliant vision, since one’s awareness does become lost among such appearances, it is said “they are not established in vidyā”. The sense of this is also demonstrated in the Pramanaviniṣcaya:

Having included everything in the mind,
since there is no movement from this inner nature,
the form [seen by] the eye arises
from the power of that intellect of sight.




This passage from the Pramanaviniṣcaya, while obscure, is in fact a description of what we call pratyakṣa, direct perception or personal experience as mentioned above. So, in fact you are correct, the key point of meditation in Dzogchen is simply to let all sense objects meet their respective sense organs, as Longchenpa says "likewise, even though all outer appearances arise as a brilliant vision, since one’s awareness does become lost among such appearances, it is said “they are not established in vidyā”."

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/1/12 6:33 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
4:53 pm

AEN
In post-Yogacara teaching, consciousness is understood as dualistic vision, to be distinguished from Wisdom which is non-dualistic. But in Pali suttas, the original teachings of the Buddha, no such division was being taught - so there is no talk about converting consciousness into wisdom - consciousness is simply these six types of cognizance that arises whether you are awakened... except that for the awakened and liberated, there is cognizance/consciousness without taints or ignorance, while for the unawakened there is the instant of cognizance/consciousness quickly followed by the taints, the craving, attachment, and identification with 'I, me, mine'. In other words it is not the 'cognizance/consciousness' that is the problem, it is the taints, the ignorance, the grasping that is the problem.

For post-Yogacara teachings, consciousness is understood to be dualistic vision, so consciousness must be transformed into wisdom. In Dzogchen, I think it is not too different in this respect, as Namdrol once said: Further, there is no rigpa to speak of that exists separate from the earth, water, fire, air, space and consciousness that make up the universe and sentient beings. Rigpa is merely a different way of talking about these six things. In their pure state (their actual state) we talk about the radiance of the five wisdoms of rig pa. In their impure state we talk about how the five elements arise from consciousness. One coin, two sides. And it is completely empty from beginning to end, and top to bottom, free from all extremes and not established in anyway. ( http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/10/dzogchen-rigpa-and-dependent.html )

It is not that there is a wisdom that exists outside the aggregates of experience, but rather it is that the aggregates of experience being experienced wrongly is dualistic vision of consciousness, experienced correctly in their actual state is simply the radiance of Rigpa. But there is not some super-transcendent 'Rigpa' outside phenomena (in their actual state).

This is interesting. Here is my experience and I am curious if/how it may relate to others' experience or just to hear others' accounts of cessation-and-re-igntion and viññāṇa.

When the skandhas re-ignite, viññāṇa comes with a significant "spark", a seeming brightening of perception of the preceding skandhas, similar to how a dimmer switch on a light can steeply turn up the light in a room. This spark comes with a mental jolt, a much stronger ripple than saññā - which is like a soft stirring and a simple, blending in...something like adding "familiarity", yet still with no gradient within the familiarity); viññāṇa is relatively disturbing, like a bright intrusion that would own the other skandhas, the cause of "I AM", the eventual cause of "I want".

Experiencing viññāṇa has given me the wary thought, "viññāṇa favors/craves its own sensation/arrival/addition to the skandhas"; it leads, it seems, to craving. To promote viññāṇa as essential and especially important could lead to stress (as viññāṇa is not always present such as when cessation occurs, and it does feel like its arrival especially disturbs the mental terrain up to that point.) Surely, this is not what is meant by mind-only school.

Saññā, however, seems to be a mild mental ripple, this aspect of brain re-igniting and perceiving "familiarity" while not perceiving separateness or spacial limitation. I am not sure, but I am starting to sense that saññā and single-point concentration feel the same mentally, and that it is saññā that gives rise to effortless concentration and the related phenomena of concentration.

Here I am falling into a different trap: valuing saññā over viññāṇa?

edit: What sensing the arrival of viññāṇa has done is given a much finer sense of the mental lurch of a desire arriving and separation, and it seems to me that saññā is minimally exerted and is itself "of the recognized/familiar", how saññā lends itself to inclusiveness without awareness of exclusion, a perception with uniform nature, though with distinctions and familiarity.

edits x5

edit 6:
In their pure state (their actual state) we talk about the radiance of the five wisdoms of rig pa. In their impure state we talk about how the five elements arise from consciousness.
This is also very interesting. I had not considered this framing, but can say that there is an effortful jhana that seems forced and owned (it bears the stress of being generated and sustained by me), and I have experienced effortless natural jhana that seems only to arise without me, comes and goes depending on whether I am being sensately mindful (placing mind at the sense faculties, not bringing sense-doors to the mind) -- this is the concentration that "feels" like the saññā aggregate.


6:33 pm:

[edit 7: never mind - my questions distract from actual practice by way of conceptualization here. If I have learned anything it is that practice - and not clinging to it in expectation nor asking it to be "something" - provides every understanding. I will only say that I looked back upon the skandha of viññāṇa with caution: it had brightness and knowledge, but also seems easily extended into forming a center with desire and attachment; and this hazard seems commonly known.]

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/1/12 5:02 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
When the skandhas re-ignite, viññāṇa comes with a significant "spark", a seeming brightening of perception of the preceding skandhas, similar to how a dimmer switch on a light can steeply turn up the light in a room.




Katy,

My experience has been the energy/potential that use to pour into the creation of the emotions/self/becoming results in a "brightening" of perception sight/sound/smells/touch. Sounds become louder and you notice smells more descernable, you notice the smallest details to the extent that rainbow type refractions are seen and indras net (tigles) or the structure of counsciousness starts to reveal intself. Practices like togal have provided further insight to AF type practices.

cheers

Jeff

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/1/12 9:34 PM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/2/12 6:11 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Jeff Grove:
you may find the practice of togal/thodgal very interesting

cheers
Jeff


Jeff, would you say more about your experience of Thodgal? How did it emerge out of the phase in which pure sensate clarity was dominant during an earlier phase of your development? Did you use any practices to induce the shift, or did it arise spontaneously?

Thodgal is often considered a practice of visionary/energetic nature, which is interesting considering that many, yourself included if I recall correctly, have reported that experiences of inner imagery and chackra-related energy are extinguished at a certain stage of practicing pure sensate clarity. However, Thodgal is traditionally differentiated from Tantric practices utilizing visualization and energetic manipulation, and the visionary energetic phenomena of each class (tantric vs. thodgal) are considered very different, so it is fascinating to me that Thodgal-like experiences have been arising for you after you seem to have lost the capacity for experiencing affective imagery and energy. Could you report any more about this? [Also, have you read anything about the way in which there are apparently neurons IN the retina which pre-process visual data along the lines of luminous geometric patterns? In other words, Thodgal visions may literally be the seeing that actually happens IN the eye, rather than in the visual processing centers at the bac of the brain...]

Nik: I agree that these descriptions of NN are very reminiscent of if not identical with sensate apperceptiveness. I believe I've long been familiar with this from practice as this is the tradition I am coming from (my first Buddhist retreat was with Norbu and for many years I lived close to a long time practitioner in Norbu's community). But I have wondered about the very clear differences between reports of AF and the fact that in advanced dzogchen practice Treckcho, the descriptions of which you have posted here, is followed by Thodgal, which Jeff has hinted at and which appears to involve a kind of visionary/energetic cycle of experiences which seem phenomenologically distinct from either 'ordinary' seix-sensate clarity OR affective imagery and energy [eta: insofar as the latter occur in tantric practices such as visualization of deities, mantra recitation, or tummo for example]

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/2/12 8:46 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
My hand leapt to the mouse when I saw that Mr Jake had posted, and sure enough I've learnt something!!

I have often wondered about those little geometric shapes the eyes seem to see when they are closed; to think that perception can be refined to the point of perceiving them individually, (and concluding they are being processed in the eye, rather than further down the line) is well, amazing.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/3/12 2:26 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
Mr. Jake *:
Jeff Grove:
you may find the practice of togal/thodgal very interesting

cheers
Jeff


Jeff, would you say more about your experience of Thodgal? How did it emerge out of the phase in which pure sensate clarity was dominant during an earlier phase of your development? Did you use any practices to induce the shift, or did it arise spontaneously?

Thodgal is often considered a practice of visionary/energetic nature, which is interesting considering that many, yourself included if I recall correctly, have reported that experiences of inner imagery and chackra-related energy are extinguished at a certain stage of practicing pure sensate clarity. However, Thodgal is traditionally differentiated from Tantric practices utilizing visualization and energetic manipulation, and the visionary energetic phenomena of each class (tantric vs. thodgal) are considered very different, so it is fascinating to me that Thodgal-like experiences have been arising for you after you seem to have lost the capacity for experiencing affective imagery and energy. Could you report any more about this? [Also, have you read anything about the way in which there are apparently neurons IN the retina which pre-process visual data along the lines of luminous geometric patterns? In other words, Thodgal visions may literally be the seeing that actually happens IN the eye, rather than in the visual processing centers at the bac of the brain...]

Nik: I agree that these descriptions of NN are very reminiscent of if not identical with sensate apperceptiveness. I believe I've long been familiar with this from practice as this is the tradition I am coming from (my first Buddhist retreat was with Norbu and for many years I lived close to a long time practitioner in Norbu's community). But I have wondered about the very clear differences between reports of AF and the fact that in advanced dzogchen practice Treckcho, the descriptions of which you have posted here, is followed by Thodgal, which Jeff has hinted at and which appears to involve a kind of visionary/energetic cycle of experiences which seem phenomenologically distinct from either 'ordinary' seix-sensate clarity OR affective imagery and energy [eta: insofar as the latter occur in tantric practices such as visualization of deities, mantra recitation, or tummo for example]


Hi Jake, right. It would be interesting to tease out the main differences. The notion that you get what you optimize for might actually have some weight. Would the practice above or thodgal entail some aspect of 'wonder', curiosity and fasciantion with the sensate world?

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/3/12 3:17 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Regarding Thodgal: I know almost nothing about it, but from what I've gathered, they are visions which are not induced hallucinations or imaginations, but "spontaneous appearances".


"Trekcho is to simply acknowledge that one's innate essence is empty. Togal is to recognize that the natural display is spontaneously present. They are not our creation; they are not produced by practice. There is no imagining of anything in either trekcho or togal.

"Without cutting through with treckcho, you can't directly cross with togal."

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
(Vajra Speech, pg 174)

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/3/12 3:29 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
Regarding Thodgal: I know almost nothing about it, but from what I've gathered, they are visions which are not induced hallucinations or imaginations, but "spontaneous appearances".


"Trekcho is to simply acknowledge that one's innate essence is empty. Togal is to recognize that the natural display is spontaneously present. They are not our creation; they are not produced by practice. There is no imagining of anything in either trekcho or togal.

"Without cutting through with treckcho, you can't directly cross with togal."

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
(Vajra Speech, pg 174)
In my limited understanding, Thodgal is recognizing the Bardo appearances as one's display, or the empty and luminous display of mind.


Example:

http://www.rinpoche.com/karmechagme/karmechagmeteaching.pdf

Another instruction that is given is called the ‘introduction to squeezing the oceans.’ The word ‘oceans’ is referring to the eyes and this is the technique where you squeeze or
Courtesy Namo Buddha Publications © Thrangu Rinpoche
"From The Direct Instructions on Mahamudra and Dzogchen. To be published, Fall, 2008."
press on your eyes with your fingers, and by doing so you see light. The light that you see is said to be the display of the wisdom light of the peaceful deities in your heart. In order to see this particular light you have to squeeze quite hard. So don’t do it for very long.
The third one which is connected to sound is called ‘the introduction to the waves of the ocean.’ This one, with your fingers, you block the ears by pressing on them. First very indistinct and then progressively louder and louder, you hear a hum or humming, that is said to be the nature sound of Dharmata.
Now the point of all these techniques is to use the appearance as a means for realizing the nature itself, or Dharmata. You can also do this by remaining in complete darkness. Generally speaking the techniques that use light are called instructions or guidance in brightness and the ones that depend on darkness are called the instruction in darkness.
These appearances can arise through meditation practice using these techniques or they also happen after you die in the bardo. When these appearances arise in the bardo they constitute the sixth lamp, which is called the ‘bardo lamp of time.’ Although in the bardo the appearances of light and sound are far more intense then what you experience through practice in this life. Nevertheless, through familiarization with this phenomenon in this life in practice, you gain the ability not to be intimidated by these appearances through your recognition of them as empty display.



........


p.s. of course, to practice these instructions, it is important to find a proper instructor and transmission from a qualified Dzogchen teacher.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/3/12 6:45 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:


Hi Jake, right. It would be interesting to tease out the main differences. The notion that you get what you optimize for might actually have some weight. Would the practice above or thodgal entail some aspect of 'wonder', curiosity and fasciantion with the sensate world?


Nick, first off yeah i think it's wise to approach these questions in terms of the optimization issue given what we are learning as a species about neuroplasticity. And as for whether those attitudes are part of Thodgal practice or not I can't really say. My impression is that Thodgal is a practice for/process of purifying mind of even subtler tendencies than are purified in Treckcho, so insofar as these attitudes arose they may be viewed as deviations from the practice at that point, although the Goal maybe could be said to be in a perpetual state of wonder and openness at the ordinary things in life, any reaction to experience even so subtle as 'wonder' could be said to be an obscuration. Boils down to what is meant by the terms I guess.

The View of these teachings is very different from Actualism or Theravada as well, and so are the Goals, the desired outcomes neurophenomenally. But the practices do have interesting similarity. I look forward to hearing if Jeff will post more about how his experience and understanding have unfolded.

there's a neat link to some Westerners who apparently teach Thodgal and their website has some nice very compact descriptions of the Path as they are living it. I'll try to find it and share it later after work because it's evocative of Thodgal in its 'native' context of View and outcome desired.
-jake

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/3/12 3:52 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
http://www.acircleisdrawn.org/

Check it out. Very poetic. They're artists, after all emoticon

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/4/12 9:06 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
lol! there is actually an 'apperception' section on the wiki dzogchen page - apparently it is a common term for the primordial awareness in some buddhist circles. actually quite a good page!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dzogchen

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/5/12 12:16 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
Nikolai .:
NOTE: This post is not an AF bashing post. It is simply pointing to the practical and beneficial practice of attending to and becoming aware of the fleeting moments of sense contact/apperception before the mind is obscured by an outflow of self-narratives. This is a thread to discuss the practical aspects that AF has to offer and how those aspects relate to the instructions for the Great Perfection.

Taken from The Cycle Of Day And Night
By Namkhai Norbu
Thanks Nikolai, I'm looking forward to attending ChNNR (Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche)'s retreat when he comes to Singapore a few days later, 4-8 May emoticon

p.s. it's a great book
Hey I forgot to mention, the webcasts of the retreat are available freely online:

http://www.shangshunginstitute.net/webcast/

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/5/12 8:23 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
Mr. Jake *:
In other words, Thodgal visions may literally be the seeing that actually happens IN the eye, rather than in the visual processing centers at the back of the brain...]


Interesting you say this, because since my latest baseline shift, there is nothing jumping, no attention wave, and this makes it so sight does not seem dull or warped at all. So when i look around me it is clear as a wonderful blue sky. The details of objects are so apparent as there is no attention bouncing elsewhere. What is wonderful about it too is that sounds and touch are seemingly perceived at the same time as well so there appears to be no jumping of attention from sight to sound to touch for example like it seemed so before. So staring at an object becomes one long moment of immense detail. Lights in particular can really show different layers of refracted light, and rainbows like has been mentioned. The images below seem to show such refraction.

I am quite aware as well of the 'floaters' that appear on the surface of my eyes, to a greater degree than before. These pics below are from the link you posted, Jake, to the artists who drew their visualizations while practicing. These two below in particular look awfully a lot like how light can seem if looking at it for a while as well as the floaters in my eyes.

I remember when I still had a dominant attention bounce, it was harder to see those floaters up close and personal like. But the fact that seeing in the seen seems to occur indefinitely for long periods even while sounds and touch is perceived as well, those floaters seem very hard to escape seeing. And they seem to have shifted shape over the last year. Seems like I have more of them flying over my eye and longer too.

My Floaters look a lot more like the one's in the drawings as they are long and have those circles in them:





These images say 'seeing in the seen' without an attention bounce to me. Apperception.

Nick

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/5/12 7:30 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Absolutely fascinating!

I know what you mean about the floaters becoming more obvious, perhaps this is helping me clarify what you mean by 'attention bounce', as when I have practiced mixing treckcho with relaxed eye gaze (perhaps gazing into the blue sky, or just the space in front of me) then indeed the floaters become more prominent. The way light refracts through them is amazing. I notice that there are actual physical movements of the eyes-- little micro-twitches-- which relax when I do this, and which results in my physical eyes becoming very still. At the same time, mental-emotional 'movement' becomes still and the sense of 'inner'-ness dissolves. Then it's like I can see the very air, the details of the visual field are so exquisite. Interesting the connection between subtle eye movements, breathing, and subtle mental-emotional restlessness (or its lack.)

So it would be really interesting Nik to see if and how this dimension unfolded for you if you were to go into it a bit, although perhaps that doesn't seem necessary at this point? For instance by spending some time attending to the refraction of light through the floaters in your eyes. It's interesting that the physical floaters or other physical techniques with the eyes, such as the pressing AEN described above, are said to merely be 'supports' for the emergence of the Thodgal visions. As I understand it there is a whole cycle which starts with the physical supports, moves into autonomous self-arising geometric forms (presumably, these are what the neurons in the eye itself are seeing), and from there visionary experiences open up, with whole landscapes and scenarios appearing within the circles. Of course the significance of this in Dzogchen is given a whole cosmological interpretation-- the various realms of samsara and pure lands of Buddha-vision are all said to arise in these rainbow spheres, the whole universe arises in these spheres of concentric energy. There is a link on their site to a computer generated representation of 'echoes from before the big bang' in the cosmic background radiation which suggests that there may be some truth to this on a cosmological level; these findings are leading some physicists to propose a timeless cyclic cosmology of Universe which makes a lot of sense of course. Far out!

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/5/12 9:01 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
Mr. Jake *:
Absolutely fascinating!

I know what you mean about the floaters becoming more obvious, perhaps this is helping me clarify what you mean by 'attention bounce', as when I have practiced mixing treckcho with relaxed eye gaze (perhaps gazing into the blue sky, or just the space in front of me) then indeed the floaters become more prominent. The way light refracts through them is amazing. I notice that there are actual physical movements of the eyes-- little micro-twitches-- which relax when I do this, and which results in my physical eyes becoming very still. At the same time, mental-emotional 'movement' becomes still and the sense of 'inner'-ness dissolves. Then it's like I can see the very air, the details of the visual field are so exquisite. Interesting the connection between subtle eye movements, breathing, and subtle mental-emotional restlessness (or its lack.)



When I was receiving guidance to hone my apperception skills, I was told to focus on a light and see the refracted light to greater and then greater degrees of detail. This would fuel an immense movement of curiosity within the mind ever more curious about the detail within detail it could see in a simple light. This would then lead to a complete stilling of the mind. No movement at all. So vastly still and unmoving that I lack words to describe how still and absent of unsatisfactoriness it was. This practice you describe seems like the same practice. The details that become apparent fuel the intent to keep paying attention to more and more details, so that attention will cease bouncing. This bouncing is essentially what gave rise to the restless affective movements of the mind. Unsatisfactory movements. This practice would simply shut those movements down.

So it would be really interesting Nik to see if and how this dimension unfolded for you if you were to go into it a bit, although perhaps that doesn't seem necessary at this point? For instance by spending some time attending to the refraction of light through the floaters in your eyes. It's interesting that the physical floaters or other physical techniques with the eyes, such as the pressing AEN described above, are said to merely be 'supports' for the emergence of the Thodgal visions. As I understand it there is a whole cycle which starts with the physical supports, moves into autonomous self-arising geometric forms (presumably, these are what the neurons in the eye itself are seeing), and from there visionary experiences open up, with whole landscapes and scenarios appearing within the circles. Of course the significance of this in Dzogchen is given a whole cosmological interpretation-- the various realms of samsara and pure lands of Buddha-vision are all said to arise in these rainbow spheres, the whole universe arises in these spheres of concentric energy. There is a link on their site to a computer generated representation of 'echoes from before the big bang' in the cosmic background radiation which suggests that there may be some truth to this on a cosmological level; these findings are leading some physicists to propose a timeless cyclic cosmology of Universe which makes a lot of sense of course. Far out!


I had my last baseline shift recently and it has stuck so far. It came about from doing this

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/yogi-experiment-peripherycentre.html

This allowed it so that all sense doors/sense objects (sense contact) were experienced simultaneously without the mind sectioning off one door/object or other to seemingly narrow focus onto it, and agitate around it. It was sight that I played around with first concerning periphery and centre. Then it seemed to naturally spread to all the sense doors making it so 'periphery' sounds and 'centre' sounds, 'peripheral' sensations and 'centre' sensations lost their 'peripheral' and 'centre' statuses so to speak, everything being cognised equally and at the same time, nothing being sectioned out with other contact ignored, with no attention being pulled to 'centre' contact over periphery, narrowing the focus in the process. Periphery joined with centre. This seemed to make it seem like a 360 degree onslaught of sense contact happening at the same time which meant shadow being had no room to arise anymore. This narrowing of focus seemed to be a sort of lunging movement the mind would do. Lunging onto an object (thought, sound, smell, touch in and surface, sight, taste) to riff off of it, react to it, give rise to crappy or pleasant sensations in the chest, then shadowy mental movements , agitated restless movements would result. That all seems to have dropped away at least so far, it hasn't come back up. It reminds me of some of what is described in Dzogchen, using sight to change the way the mind focuses and lunges.

I will play with it some more and get back to you.

Nick

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/5/12 10:49 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Interesting, I like that center-periphery practice. That reminds me of my earliest instinct in 'meditating' before I ever received any instructions, simply to simplify experience to the point of pure 360 degree impressionistic contact. It immediately becomes evident when attempting this that A) that 360 degree impressionistic dimension of experience is already effortlessly arising and emoticon it's damn difficult to not complexify it by bouncing around, resisting, and being conditioned by limiting descriptions both verbal and non-verbal. In short, feeling-and-perception bouncing around and giving rise to narrative-level distractions. Neat.

It's only in the past few years though that I've begun to have insights into the fact that that root restlessness is not merely random but rather expresses very definite motivations-- it's not so much a project of effortfully cultivating attentiveness to that 360 degree continuum, for me anyway, as it is of seeing exactly what mind is doing when mind is 'distracted' from the natural state. what is the motivation for 'leaving' that natural state? 'Who' leaves that state (and as what kind of being does that 'who' take birth as when 'leaving' that state? hungry ghost? Hell dweller? Proud god?). There is such a fascinating psychological component to the 'how' of doing unawakeness, which seems to be an important part of how Tantra and Dzogchen dovetail (with the former providing the framework for understanding the psychology of samsaric mind in terms of the bardos and the realms, and the latter a phenomenology of the natural state/Universe).

I look forward to hearing any further reports on this as it unfolds for you and Jeff, I'd still be fascinated to hear your descriptions, even if only to concur with what Nick has reported. Meanwhile we'll see how experience shifts/unfolds for me as I continue to practice this way. Been feeling a pull lately to get back into formal practice after taking a few months away from consistent sitting and the sort of stuff we're talking about in this thread is what I'm drawn to lately, so thanks all for the inspiration emoticon

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/5/12 7:29 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Mr. Jake *:

It's only in the past few years though that I've begun to have insights into the fact that that root restlessness is not merely random but rather expresses very definite motivations-- it's not so much a project of effortfully cultivating attentiveness to that 360 degree continuum, for me anyway, as it is of seeing exactly what mind is doing when mind is 'distracted' from the natural state. what is the motivation for 'leaving' that natural state? 'Who' leaves that state (and as what kind of being does that 'who' take birth as when 'leaving' that state? hungry ghost? Hell dweller? Proud god?). There is such a fascinating psychological component to the 'how' of doing unawakeness, which seems to be an important part of how Tantra and Dzogchen dovetail (with the former providing the framework for understanding the psychology of samsaric mind in terms of the bardos and the realms, and the latter a phenomenology of the natural state/Universe).


Yes, I often gloss over this part of what I've done as well; Becoming aware of that which obscurates, that which seems narrow in focus, and lunging on this and that, ah, it seems to be about pride, or have hungry ghost elements, or hell dweller elements, but perhaps not to the degree you are describing. I had started simplifying the recognizing all of that 'movement' as simply 'self-narrative' regardless of manifestation. It was enough to recognize it like so, to accept that it was arising for it to naturally start to lose fuel and suddenly drop away to reveal the 360 degree continuum. This may be part of the differing optimization results.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/6/12 12:01 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
So it would appear that togal visions do seem connected to the floaters as expressed in this blog dedicated to all things 'eye floaters'. Some interesting posts on togal and eye floaters in ancient cultures.

The Togal Visions are drawn very clearly and artistically by Robert and Rachel Olds in their book: “Luminous Heart of Inner Radiance: Drawings of the Togal Visions” The Togal Visions can be obtained by looking towards the sun but not directly at the sun ( by looking almost horizontally and by keeping the sun above) and squinting our eyes (for a beginner); those visions are experienced when we locate the sun in our peripheral vision and squint our eyes almost closed. You can do this in the early morning and late afternoon each day Before 9am and After 4pm when the sun is begging to get stronger and weaker. You must never do it between the hours of 9am to 4pm because the sun is too strong and eye damage could occur.

In the rainbow-colored Togal Visions the eye floaters become very large and colorful. Some of the tiny dots or circles (spheres) are static and become large concentric rainbow circles.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/6/12 12:12 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
And just for fun, even Batman employed the togal practice:






RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/6/12 2:51 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Sunday giant moon day spent researching the phenomena of the eye floater. Here is a link to an interesting magazine called 'edge science'. Check page 14 for the article on eye floaters and meditation practice.


Nestor ascribes an extraordinary meaning to the visual phenomena called floaters: they are a spiritual phenomenon, and thus a directly perceptible starting point for our own spiritual development, for the realization of our “true selves.” But how did Nestor come to make these claims? He says that these propositions were deduced from his own seeing. It is important to understand that his description of the spheres and strings differs from those described by most people. He doesn’t see scattered small dots and strings that drift away permanently but large, bright spheres and tubes that he is able to hold in suspension and, therefore, to see clearly. His claim to deal with what is commonly called floaters is based on his experience of a transformation, resulting from “idiopathic” eye floaters in the visual field, a specific lifestyle, including an ethical attitude, a natural and balanced diet, a combination of physical and breathing exercises inspired from yogic practices, as well as the practice of concentration and meditation. The long- and short-term effects of such practices lead to altered states of consciousness that change visual perception. To be more precise, Nestor pleads to have observed the “lighting up” and “zooming in” of floaters: what were formerly transparent tiny dots and strands he now sees as large spheres and tubes full of light.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/6/12 8:23 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Ha! Batman...

R.e. different optimization outcomes, yes, the way these differences are mapped in Tibetan practice lineages--- the famous 'vehicles' or yanas-- is explicitly articulated in terms of the way klesha are 'dealt with', which in turn is related to the initial view or principle of what they are and what value they have.

Sutrayana tends to focus on methods that deconstruct the process of klesha generation, and (generally) aims at changing the way mind functions so they stop arising.

Tantrayana sees the poisons as potentially medicines, if worked with correctly, and rather than seeing klesha as something to be eliminated, they are seen as being distorted versions of 'wisdom', hence the alchemical approach.

Anyhow, yes, different optimization outcomes, and perhaps different views about how reality functions on basic levels. For instance, if one has experiences that suggest that psychic energy fields *actually* (and not just imaginatively) connect sentient beings, and if one has cultivated a thorough understanding of how psyche functions and how different qualities of energy/ felt meaning arise, and further one has cultivated the capacity to intentionally generate and 'transmit' qualities of energy that are felt by others as facilitating their own insight, peace, clarity, bliss; then one would be motivated to retain the capacity to generate that energy because of what one can do with it. Certainly this is something that *appears* to happen with Tantric practice (and the shadow side of this sort of thing certainly seems to happen as well!!!).

Long and the short of it being, the degree to which one may find value in seeing the particular qualities of unawakeness that are prevailing in any given moment of ignorance (ah, this is anger, drop the dualistic tension and what quality remains?) or conversely the degree to which one may find value in seeing the mere fact of unawakeness in its generic essence (this is unawakeness, drop it!) seems to be a choice referenced to the basic approach being taken, Tantric or Sutric. I'm not accomplished enough in either method to make a judgment on whether one is better than the other, in an ultimate sense-- if such a judgment ever could be truly ultimate for anyone but the individual!!-- , but I have enough experience with both to appreciate that they both have value in terms of reducing suffering and increasing all around joy and openness emoticon.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/6/12 4:21 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Of the 52 points given in the book "The Cycle of Day and Night" whose Tibetan text copyright is held by Namkhai Norbu and Translation and commentary copyright is held by John Myrdhin Reynolds, you have copied 20 points here. This is a grave violation of copyright rules as I don't think that you have taken permission from any of the persons who hold copyright to the text you have copied.

I myself have done this earlier when I copied the instructions for the Giant Body exercise by Tarthang Tulku but having realized my mistake, I deleted that.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/6/12 4:26 PM as a reply to Change A..
Hello Aman,

Noted.

Nick

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/6/12 10:07 PM as a reply to Change A..
No author would pursue action about such a post,or even a publisher or holder of copyright (no matter how protective) as the simple fact is such a post may result in book sales, which in the world of dhamma generally means they are able to break even.

so i wouldn't sweat it. Besides, the first course of action in any copyright claim is a 'cease and desist' letter. in this case the post could be deleted and that would be the end of it. If a book had been published, or some other moneymaking enterprise in which deletion was not an option, it would still be up to the claimant to persue it in court (at enormous cost.) That is not the case here, everything is (generally) referenced and reversible in a forum context.

If copyright was a problem for such a small piece, then every university in the world would be shut down as such quoting is par for the course in any research paper/ assignment.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/7/12 2:23 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Thanks for digging this up, Nikolai. Thodgal seemed like really esoteric stuff to me, and while I don't think the whole practice is as simple as your last posts suggests (or maybe it is?), I have been doing these basic practices since I was a kid, still do, and enjoy it every time.

I have something called keratoconus; it's a disfigurement of the spherical form of the eye which leads to, among other things, 'ghost images'. Almost every day I pay deep, relaxed attention to these ghost images, as they are really cool and seductive. I have also had some microscopic glass carefully scraped out of my right eye, which left some scars through which light bends ever so slightly differently and is really cool and relaxing to pay attention to / notice under the right circumstances.

Not to mention that I've have had almost-personal relationships with several floaters emoticon

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/7/12 4:57 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Sorry been away for a few days and will write a reply latter after work. Observing these floaters allow a feedback in a way that until the emotional mind or the energetic movement that is the mind becomes more subtle the floaters will speed across your vision. But once stabilised they remain still and can be a source of investigation. When they become the object of concentration they vertually "Light up" shining and shrink in size. When lightly focussed on they can grow in size. There are different types like a yin and yang representing a generative intent and a potential (tubes and spheres). Interestingly what is seen in these visions mirror the vison we call life and reveal a type of structure of to our counsciousness. This is a very interesting path that opens up at a point in your journey

cheers

Jeff

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/7/12 5:04 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
I hadn't bothered to check this thread as I assumed Aman was still just being awkward for the sake of it, but now that I read the points made by Mr. Jake I am thoroughly interested...this in particular piqued my attention:

Mr Jake:
Also, have you read anything about the way in which there are apparently neurons IN the retina which pre-process visual data along the lines of luminous geometric patterns? In other words, Thodgal visions may literally be the seeing that actually happens IN the eye, rather than in the visual processing centers at the back of the brain...

...and the symbolic descriptions of them being the closest metaphor for the experience, since the actual experience of seeing what "actually happens IN the eye" contains no information which can be conceptualized and so must be represented in some "meaningful" form e.g. archetypes?

This sort of thing fascinates me completely, letters and words were created by humans to label their sensate experience but we seem to have forgotten that somewhere along the line!

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/7/12 6:02 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Right, and the depths of sensate experience plunge into realms of great subtlety. Fascinated to hear more from Jeff! Very tantalizing. Floaters definitely provide excellent feedback for subtle mind-restlessness, I have certainly noticed that they jump around and slide around unless mind (and the micro-movements of the eyeballs) become very still. But the changes that occur are truly strange. I have limited experience with floaters changing shape, but have noticed that after practicing this much in a given day I will sometimes notice one or two of the more familiar floaters "glowing" while in bed at night with my eyes closed. I'm not sure what's up with this. When I have opened my eyes, if there is a light source like a steetlight out the window which I can check with, invariably those very floaters are there. It seems very strange to say the least! Archetypal infrastructure of perception... neurons in the eye... visions of possibly cosmological significance at the base of ordinary perceptions?

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/7/12 6:10 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
An interesting quote from the website of the artist/yogis:

www.acircleisdrawn.org:

The expression of this world as the intent of essence does not arise as an illusion to deceive. It does not arise as delusion to make us suffer, or to drive us to turn away or escape. Nor is it just a dream to be seduced by or to be tossed aside. This expression of the essence is a vision, a sacred vision with a living intent woven into the fabric of our being.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/8/12 6:19 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
Hi,

I have been investigating thodgal type practices for about a year and a half after noticing the increasing numbers of eye floaters, rainbow type refractions, what might be called auras and a general increased sensitivity to the senses brought on by apperception.

If you are interested in this I recommend the following books which contain a wealth of practical information

Heart Drops of Dharmakaya
Moches Volitaes
Luminous Heart of Inner Radiance

These practices appear to be known by many cultures, you can find it in Australian Aboriginal art, western schools, ancient Egyptian, Russian shamanism, Taoist, shaivism and have been incorporated into Dzogchen and Nyingpma (I retreat with a teacher from this school). To answer an earlier question from Jake regarding energy or chi or consciousness, the energy that went into the selfing process may now be part of the creation of the vision process.

In Nyingma or Dzogchen there are four cycles of visions, the first is the Vision that is developing. With the removal of obscurations the first vision a direct vision which unfolds from emptiness . You can not grab or try to cling to the floaters as they speed up you need to loosen the hold the mind has on perception. Also try holding your breath and see what happens

The doorway to the second vision is when a few tubes (intent with a generative force) start to settle over a few spheres (potential). This is reflected in nature and described as the heart seed breaking open like a seed germinating or the union of sperm and egg (the union of intent and potential) then the cycle begins.

In Mouches Violtes it is described it as a bridge to the left side of consciousness or a heart opening. Colour becomes more descernable, the spheres larger, and you notice two types of spheres which are opposite to each other - one dark on the outside and the other dark on the inside. Familiar geometric patterns appear such as four spheres around a center with complimentary colours, the four elements which blend together as one in the center. I have seen what appears to be Buddhas sitting cross legged inside the spheres others may see crosses, it pays not to put anything into it and just observe. In the top left hand corner is a large blue circle at the edge of vision.

There is blending of the vision condensing into the fabric of the vision which is life. We take everything we see and experience as external but this blending removes what is internal or external.
I cannot describe any further then here but there is a lot of practical advise in the books they I listed. Also some interesting info at

http://vajrayana.faithweb.com/rich_text_6.html
and in the Bon section

cheers
Jeff

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/8/12 6:51 AM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Thanks Jeff,

Those are some interesting things to follow up on. Great link by the way:

Here are some more interesting links:

http://www.eye-floaters.info/

http://www.mouches-volantes.com/gallery/gallery-popup.htm

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/8/12 3:43 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I am in agreement. emoticon

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/9/12 12:59 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
I had a heap of floaters appear quite suddenly about a year ago. I find them annoying. Caffeine seems to make them grow in size.

Can someone explain in simple terms what the spiritual link is, because I'm not understanding those blogs and articles very well. Thanks.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/9/12 3:07 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
I had a heap of floaters appear quite suddenly about a year ago. I find them annoying. Caffeine seems to make them grow in size.

Can someone explain in simple terms what the spiritual link is, because I'm not understanding those blogs and articles very well. Thanks.



I will tell you from my own experience which may or may not relate to the other contexts in which floaters are discussed.

There appearance, disappearance, level of clarity (such as seeing more details like refracted light and rainbow shapes to a great degree) within the visual field represents what sort of tendency of mind is dominating or in abeyance.

* When the floaters are 'annoying' this is easy to diagnose. Aversion is manifesting as an annoyed 'you'. The floaters have become an 'object' of the mind to react towards and in this case due to conditioning, the reaction is one of aversion. The mind lunges and grasps for he cessation/absence of those floaters wishing they were not there. How unsatisfactory. This is unsatisfactory.

* When the floaters become clearer, one can see how floaters towards the lateral or inferior sides of vision will move downwards really quickly as the eye focus tries to centre on them but since they can't be looked at head on, it is impossible.

This eye focus movement represents the habitual tendency to narrow focus onto 'objects' within the field of experience, either in the visual field or other sense fields. A slight or gross frustration may result in not being able to stabilize focus on those floaters and hold them still. And the eyes keep doing it, even though one might understand that it is impossible to do as the floaters are on the surface of the retina (or something like that). This is representing in my opinion, the habitual tendency to grasp at an object, to focus mentally in on it and establish a relationship with it. This grasping at and wanting to focus on the floaters is unsatisfactory. This represents that habitual tendency of the mind to want something, grasp at an object, but ultimately it results in unsatisfactoriness.

* When one realizes that it is impossible to grasp at the floaters like so, and that grasping at them via 'eye focus' is unsatisfactory and never rewarding, then one can simply train the mind to relinquish that habitual tendency due to seeing its uselessness.

When one relinquishes this habit, then the mind via eye sight will be naturally inclined to simply accept exactly what is arising in the visual field regardless of where the floaters are presenting, periphery or centre, it doesn't matter. There is a letting go of grasping at having eye focus to have it land on them.

When doing this, more floaters may suddenly appear in the centre and more in the periphery as well that were not visible before. Insight into how many there really are and their details becomes more apparent and all because the manipulating eye focus was dropped to simply accept what is arising wherever in the visual field without the grasping at 'objects'. The visual perception may then be more encompassing of all the centre and periphery.

The eyes may still manifest the habitual tendency to focus on or follow the floaters that the mind wishes to see/grasp at/establish focus on. But since one is starting to realize that that is useless and leads to frustration, one can relinquish the habit with more ease recognizing that simply allowing the brain the cognise the visual field without the need to focus on anything in particular, will lead to more visual displays becoming clearer. More acceptance of what is in the visual field will result. A relinquishing of that grasping tendency represented by the eye movement. The eye movement will begin to calm down and become stiller until it is unmoving.

The more one lets go of 'trying' to focus on a floater, the more the mind calms down and the more details of perhaps other floaters and refracted light details becomes apparent. The more the mind learns via experience to drop the manner in which it focuses on and grasp at 'objects' in the field of experience, the more peaceful it will become, as it will drop that tendency to 'control' focus and fabricate off of it. The more the recognition of what the brain actually cognises and allowing it to become clear without 'forcing focus', the more unsatisfactoriness drops away within the whole field of experience. The cessation of unsatisfactoriness becomes apparent. The mind simply recognizes the experience of cognising in the cognising, seeing in the seen.

* When you allow the visual field to be cognised without any 'fabrications' (which as far as i see only arise due to the narrowing of the mental focus onto 'perceived' objects which are run through the mental memory banks, given a name, conceptualized and evaluated as good, bad, meh! and then reacted towards with craving, clinging which then gives rise to all the unsatisfactory moods and emotions and selfing process), the mind begins to perceive sense contact apperceptively, aware continuously of the point of contact of sense objects and corresponding sense doors, a bombardment of sense contact at all the physical sense doors simultaneously. There will be no room for any 'you' to arise, no room for any mental unsatisfactoriness either.

What is learned from this approach can be applied to all experience, to all sense contact.

This is just my current subject to change 2 cents.

Nick

Edited x 3

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/9/12 5:35 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Hi Nick,

These are great insights, you see that this process allows an immediate feedback on the clarity/purity of consciousness.

Aim to stablise the spheres they will slow down and remain in the center. Investigate how they are influenced

Try a wide angle focus
Try looking past them watching but not watching
See how your breath influences there movement
See how tension in the body changes there movement
See how openness influences them
The self takes energy from the visions.

The visions are as stable as your contemplation, as your natural state. awareness without distraction with calm breath

You will need to slow down the spheres and then the tubes to enter the second cycle

At a stage when they are still and in the middle you can concentrate on them and they will Light up or Shine Brightly like a light suddenly coming on

At first they are flat but a depth will develop, I often see 5 of them in a row that go up to the left hand corner creating a tunnel to the large blue sphere

If you have the Tibetan book of the dead, reread about the bardo and the intermediate state where there are 4 visions of wisdom theses cycles are related.

You find things like the five Buddha families and the five wisdom's that appear as the five colour rays or wrathful and peacefull deities turn out to be based on literal experience.

much to discover
cheers
Jeff

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/9/12 4:46 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
For those Aussies that are interested in Dzogchen a teacher that I have retreated with in the past has just arrived back in Aus. He comes here approx every two years. Retreats have always been fun and interesting and he does not hold back on the info. Some of the practices he teaches are usually with-held for monastics only, so it has always been a great opportunity to partake. See email below


Hi everyone,

I am very happy to announce that Ngakpa Karma Lhundup Rinpoche will be teaching in Australia next month.

Below is Rinpoche's schedule.
Please check Rinpoche's web site www.karmalhundup.org for updates.

cheers
Penor


Ngakpa Karma Lhundup Rinpoche Australia 2012

Sydney May 13 - 28

May 13 2 pm
Medicine Buddha Empowerment
Blackheath Retreat centre
http://www.kanimbla.com/
For information please contact Dr Tom Downey.
e-mail: tcdowney@bigpond.com

More Sydney teachings to be announced.
For information please contact Tara Henderson.
e-mail: tarahenderson@ozemail.com.au

Melbourne June
Teachings to be announced.

Byron Bay / Bangalow June 12 - 14
Teachings to be announced.

Lismore June 15 - 20
Teachings to be announced.
For information please contact Judy Arpana.
e-mail: jajudyarpana@gmail.com

Armidale June 21 - 26

June 22
Recognizing Your Natural Goodness: Dzogchen Meditation

June 23
Morning Dzogchen: Introduction to Dzogchen; Recognizing The Nature of Mind, Introduction to Dzogchen-Meditation.
Afternoon: Empowerment of Ta Chag Khyung Sum (Dudjom Tersar) teaching and then Practice of Ta Chag Khyung Sum

June 24 Dakini teaching day - Wisdom of Women - Enlightened Women Masters of Tibet and Their Profound Teachings and Yeshe Tsogyal Wang in accordance with Dudjom Tersar

Available June 21, 25 - 26 for house blessings etc in Armidale.

For information please contact Ruth Bohill
e-mail: ruthrbohill@hotmail.com

Gold Coast June 27 - July 4
Teachings to be announced.

Brisbane July 5 - 17
Teachings to be announced.

For information please contact Penor.
e-mail:penor@y7mail.com

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/9/12 4:56 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Great stuff, Jeff! I sent an email to the blackheath visit as I live 20 minutes away. Hopefully I'll be able to attend this weekend.

And just for fun....

Peter and The Floater

Stewie and The Floater

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/11/12 7:47 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
hey apperception-havers
what do you experience when doing this http://www.blindspottest.com/
does it fill in? if not do you constantly recognize the blind spot?

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/12/12 12:07 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Thanks Nic. You're saying that floaters can be used for spiritual practice, I get that. But in themselves floaters don't have any spiritual meaning or significance, right?

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/12/12 12:31 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
Thanks Nic. You're saying that floaters can be used for spiritual practice, I get that. But in themselves floaters don't have any spiritual meaning or significance, right?


Depends on the person. They are simply floaters to me, but like a kasina object, I can use them for practice. Someone else may attach more 'spiritual' importance to them, but I would say that belongs within the realm of motivating the self-narratives to practice. Each person has their own self-narratives to motivate somehow, their own way of assigning meaning to 'objects'.
Nick

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/13/12 1:20 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Just came back from a Medicine Buddha Empowerment with the dzogchen master Ngakpa Karma Lhundup Rinpoche.
At the end of the ceremony I went and asked him about dzogchen and apperception. I quoted Nhamkai Norbu's description and the rinpoche told me (paraphrasing) that it is recognizing those moments of concept free awareness like the very moment one sneezes and when one experiences the moment of sexual orgasm. In those moments, one can recognise that primordial awareness. I talked briefly about the apperceptive practices here. He then nodded his head and said when you recognsie those moments of pure awareness not touched by conceptual mind, you gain your 'view'. But he also warned me that we are human beings and we have to interact as human beings, we have to work and behave 'normally' even though the 'view' is informing our practice. Very humble and inspiring man. I will hopefully go to another meeting in Sydney next week when he teaches a little dzogchen.

As far as I can see when sneezing, there is a moment of pure apperception, as well as at the moment of orgasmic ejaculation, when there is no sense of 'me-ness' arising. When that is the 'view' informing practice, that is what you cultivate, but not losing your connection to others by behaving in a manner that may be seen as aloof. This is all paraphrased from what I remember him telling me.

I'm impressed and curious to see where this may lead and what it may trigger. I am focusing on the floater thogal practice to see where it leads to.

Nick

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
5/14/12 10:15 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Thanks for this thread. I've been going on nice jogs for years and developing concentration and even going into jhanas in the middle of them. Yesterday I just jog and stay with all the senses as they are because there's no striving necessary for the senses to work. The mental rest is ordinary but better than adding effort to develop a jhana. The habit of not staying with experience is just reactivity and aversion to reality. emoticon

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
10/31/12 2:26 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
So it would appear that togal visions do seem connected to the floaters as expressed in this blog dedicated to all things 'eye floaters'. Some interesting posts on togal and eye floaters in ancient cultures.

The Togal Visions are drawn very clearly and artistically by Robert and Rachel Olds in their book: “Luminous Heart of Inner Radiance: Drawings of the Togal Visions” The Togal Visions can be obtained by looking towards the sun but not directly at the sun ( by looking almost horizontally and by keeping the sun above) and squinting our eyes (for a beginner); those visions are experienced when we locate the sun in our peripheral vision and squint our eyes almost closed. You can do this in the early morning and late afternoon each day Before 9am and After 4pm when the sun is begging to get stronger and weaker. You must never do it between the hours of 9am to 4pm because the sun is too strong and eye damage could occur.

In the rainbow-colored Togal Visions the eye floaters become very large and colorful. Some of the tiny dots or circles (spheres) are static and become large concentric rainbow circles.


Hello from not very windy Toronto. Hurricane Sandy did some damage here and a lot more farther west. We escaped the devastation of New York and New Jersey, but that will be insufficient comfort for anyone.

Since I am completely new here (although I have read Daniel's book several times over the past years) and had no idea where to begin, I just jumped in here - yes, this is my first post. I just wanted to say hello and mention something about how I practise. I have studied in the Sōtō Zen and Theravāda traditions, but also the Vajrayāna and Bön teachings of Ati (khregs chod and thod rgal). What I am finding is an incredible consistency underlying what might otherwise seem like very diverse teachings. Still, I tend to simply sit with following the breath and awareness of bodymind. I have been given a wide rage of very precious texts from retreats given by some of the great Theravāda and Tibetan teachers. These are highly valuable to me as I have only been able to attend one extensive retreat by Thrangu Rinpoche where I received the complete transmission of Mahāmudrā. The funny thing is, I suppose, that I didn't understand a word I heard or a note I took or the text I read (Ocean of Definitive Meanings) over and over ... UNTIL I began reading the collected teachings of Ajahn Chah! ! !

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
10/31/12 5:03 PM as a reply to Sudarsha Isvara Namaskar.
Welcome Sudarsha emoticon

Given your background, I for one would have liked to read a little breakdown of your progress on the path, more so than you've written here. I suggest you start a new thread and share your experiences there. Maybe a moderator could even move this post to that thread when you've created it (so as to not pollute the discussion in this thread).

Good to hear that you are safe from the destruction of Sandy emoticon

Kadag Trekchö & Lhündrub Tögal seem like interesting practices, but I have never really understood them. Maybe you could write about your experience of them. I'm a sucker for synthesis, so whatever consistency you have found underlying myriad practices, I would really like to hear more about that, too! And what is this connection you found between Mahāmudrā and Ajahn Chah?

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
10/31/12 5:34 PM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
Pollute!! emoticon

No, I think I understand! emoticon

Hi, Stian,

I would like to tell you about my experiences. If someone could set up a new thread or something, that would be great. I have no idea how to do that.

Regarding Kadag Trekchö & Lhündrub Tögal, well, thod rgal is problematic because not everyone teaches it the same and not everyone explains it in a way that makes a lot of sense. Khregs chod, on the other hand is simply letting go of thought and looking directly at the emptiness that underlies mind, the sort of momentary experience you might have if someone slithered up behind you and suddenly shouted BOO! - that moment of no thought, just pure alertness, pure awareness. The emptiness of mind-itself.

Until someone figures out how to make a new thread and not pollute this one!

S.

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
10/31/12 5:33 PM as a reply to Sudarsha Isvara Namaskar.
Go to categories, pick a category, it doesn't matter too much which, then "start new thread"

RE: The Great Perfection
Answer
11/2/12 1:08 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Thanks, Adam

Friday, 2 November: after much trepidation and complete confidence that I have no idea what I'm doing, I have started a new thread, Dzogchen and Theravāda. I hope this works.